Care Minutes and your Care Obligations

December 5, 2022 | Aged Care Management

By Shannon Sanderson, Head of Sales

We are less than 2 months away from care minutes becoming mandatory on 1 October 2023.

Each facility will have care minutes targets based on their casemix of permanent residents (including palliative care recipients) and respite residents. A resident’s casemix is based on their AN-ACC classification. However, you may not have considered the impact this has on your care obligation.

The Care Minutes and 24-7 RN Responsibility Guide outlines Provider’s obligations around meeting the new care minute requirements and their care obligations which is a term we can expect to hear used more frequently by the Commission.

1.3 Care Obligations
Care minutes establish a minimum quantity of care (by RNs, ENs and PCW/AINs) that is required to be provided to residents from 1 October 2023. This responsibility will be in addition to the existing responsibility of approved providers under the Aged Care Act 1997 (the Act) to maintain an adequate number of appropriately skilled staff to ensure the care needs of care recipients are met and to provide safe, respectful and quality care and services (see obligations under the Aged Care Quality Standards (Quality Standards) in Schedule 2 to the Quality of Care Principles 2014).

With this in mind, providers have two governing bodies with compliance requirements:

  • The Department of Health with the care minute targets which are based on the care delivered in the previous quarter and set a minimum staffing standard.
  • The Quality and Safety Commission and the care obligations to their current residents which ensures they are receiving the care they actually need on a given day.

What does this look like in practice?

  1. Providers will need to be planning, tracking and reporting on care minute outcomes to make sure they are meeting this compliance requirement. The planning and tracking are just as important as reporting of your care minutes.  In February 2024. Providers will be reporting on care minute compliance for Q2 (Oct to Dec 2023).. This is not the time to find out targets were not met in November 2023
  2. Providers will also have to roster to meet the care needs of their current residents. The easiest way to do this will be to have visibility of these resident’s care minute requirement at the time you are rostering.

To further illustrate the importance of being able to track shifting care minute requirements, consider the added complexity when new residents enter a facility.

Below is another extract from the Dept of Health “Care Minutes and 24/7 Nursing Requirements Guide, pg.29”

4.5.1 Unclassified residents

“If a resident has not yet received an assessment and classification at the time the quarterly targets are calculated, they are not included in the calculation of the care minute targets for that quarter, even if their class when assigned is backdated.

However, providers remain responsible for ensuring they meet the responsibility to have sufficient staff on duty to meet the care needs of residents at all times. This means the service level care minutes targets set for each quarter applies to all residents, including those residents without an AN-ACC or respite class.

Once the resident’s AN-ACC or respite class is assigned, they will be included in care minute targets calculations for subsequent quarters. “

What does this mean in practice?

Care minute targets are expected to be released 2 weeks prior to the end of each quarter.

On the Department of Health’s AN-ACC Assessment Dashboard (updated July 2023), the current wait time  for around 50% of assessments being completed by the Assessment Management Organisations (AMO) is more than 15 days

This could mean that residents admitted to a facility at the beginning of September 2023 may not have an AN-ACC class assigned and be included in the care minute target calculation for the October to December 2023 quarter. That is a third of the quarter, ongoing.

A provider will, however, need to demonstrate they have allowed for new residents in their roster. When creating a roster, a facility will need to have a care obligation target that reflects all in-situ residents as well as the care minute target allocated by the Department of Health with the latter being your minimum requirement.

Complexities like these have been considered when developing our technology solutions Mirus Metrics, for AN-ACC Management and Mirus Works for Workforce Management.

These solutions will provide you with the data, planning, tracking, and reporting requirements you need to comply with both care minutes and care obligations.